Jordan Bell proved to be a valuable source of blocks, steals, and field-goal percentage for fantasy basketball players in stretches of the 2017-18 season. That is, when Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr played him.
But in the team’s season opener on Tuesday night, Kerr didn’t do that, save for seven minutes of the Dubs’ 108-100 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In his brief stint on the floor, he grabbed two rebounds and swatted one shot.
Emphatic as the block may have been, if you selected Bell late in your fantasy hoops draft this year, is it worth holding on to a guy who played just seven minutes in his team’s first game of the year?
A Logjam at Center
Damian Jones, who spent the last two years playing primarily in the G-League, got the starting nod at center and played well, hitting 6-of-7 shots for 12 points and blocking three shots in 27 minutes. Even more discouragingly, Kevan Looney came off the bench to play 18 minutes, even playing some power forward next to Jones, to record 10 points, 10 rebounds, and a pair of blocks.
At 6’9″ with short arms, Bell is undersized for a center, but his limited range makes it tougher to play him next to a traditional one, as he did for much of his college days. It’s not a great sign for fantasy owners that Kerr played Looney at power forward over Bell. And it’s not like he’ll be manning the center spot in the team’s ideal small-ball lineup; that role goes to All-Star big man Draymond Green.
It took Bell a little while to break into Golden State’s heavy rotation as a rookie a season ago. He didn’t log more than 12 minutes in a game until the Warriors’ 13th contest of the season. Then he went on a 24-game stretch in which he averaged 1.4 blocks, 2.4 assists, and 0.9 steals in 18 minutes per games while shooting 65.3 percent from the field before ankle and back injuries kept him out for over a month.
If you’re patient and happy with the rest of your roster, Bell’s potential in a larger role is worth waiting another few weeks to see if he can wrest the starting job from Jones.
However, if you’re worried Kerr’s deployment of Bell will depend solely on matchups — and whether the coach can get away with playing a small forward-sized player at center — you can feel comfortable dropping him, particularly with DeMarcus Cousins’ return looming.
If you do drop Bell and are in search of blocks, swoop up Jones while he’s still available, barring a more obvious option.